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where to go in kyushu island, japan - the auroran sunset

Map of Kyusu Island, Japan. Image: Google

Places I like in Kyushu:

  • Daizaifu temple complex in Fukuoka
  • Penguin Zoo just outside Nagasaki
  • Nagasaki itself is also impressive, with the peace park and the old western area
  • Kumamoto has one of the best Japanese castles I’ve ever seen, better than Osaka for me
  • right at the bottom [south] is a sand onsen [hot springs] at Ibusuki, surrounded by beautiful countryside
  • where I lived in Kokubu and the area around are gorgeous
    from there, you can visit the Kirishima mountains for hiking,
    the active volcano, Sakurajima, in the bay,
    or just drive through the little villages in the countryside towards Miyakonojo and Miazaki
  • if you have time to island hop, though officially still Kyushu, go to Yakushima (a three-hour boat ride from Kagoshima) - it’s the place I’d live if I had to choose one place, so peaceful, warm and beautiful.

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long long long ago - oxygenating the atmosphere: global cooling

“Scientists have determined that the rise of oxygen on Earth may have caused the planet's first ice age. The research team believes that rising oxygen levels could have consumed atmospheric greenhouse gases, ultimately cooling the entire planet and profoundly influencing the evolution of life.”

“Once oxygen made it into the atmosphere, the scientists suggest that it reacted with methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, to form carbon dioxide, which is 62 times less effective at warming the surface of the planet. "With less warming potential, surface temperatures may have plummeted, resulting in globe-encompassing glaciers and sea ice" said Kaufman.”

related material
global warming

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blood vessels from skin cells

Artifical blood vessel, grown from skin cells. Image: 
        Cytograft Tissue Engineering
Artifical blood vessel, grown from skin cells. Image: Cytograft Tissue Engineering

“Scientists report today that artificial blood vessels made using a person's own skin cells work well in patients receiving kidney dialysis. The new blood vessels mark the first vascular grafts to be derived entirely from a patient's own tissues, which lowers the odds of a harmful immune reaction. Down the road, engineered grafts may also prove useful in treating patients with circulatory problems in their legs and coronary arteries.”

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another method of converting electricity to transportable fuel

“An intriguing new idea involves "feeding" surplus [electric] power to the microorganisms instead, which combine it with carbon dioxide to create methane. That could then be stored and burned when needed. The method is sustainable too, as the carbon is taken from the atmosphere, not released from long-term storage in oil or coal.”

“Of the energy put into the system as electricity, 80% was eventually recovered when the methane was burned – a fairly high efficiency. "You don't get all the energy back, but that's a problem with any form of energy storage," says Curtis.”

See also note d in replacing fossil fuels: the scale of the problem.

related material
Fuel cells and battery-powered vehicles
biofuels

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hybrid-battery-capacitor technology wins endurance competition

This is a report from 2007. It is the first time I have seen a report where a super capacitor has been used effectively. Incidently, the car uses three motors.

“The greatest victory so far for the cars, fueled by a combo of electricity and gas, came just weeks ago when an ultracapacitor-equipped Toyota Supra HV-R coupe became the first hybrid to win the 24-hour endurance car race held at Japan's Tokachi International Speedway. The hybrid Supra finished 616 laps of the 5.1-kilometer (roughly threemile) course—19 more laps than the second-place nonhybrid Nissan Fairlady Z. "The Toyota that won was able to deliver energy more quickly, accelerate faster, and use braking generation more efficiently," says Kevin Mak, an analyst with research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics and author of a recent study that explores the potential for ultracapacitors to complement and possibly even replace batteries in hybrid vehicles. "The days of the large hybrid vehicle battery pack may be numbered," he adds.”

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fuel cells and battery-powered vehicles

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genes with possible effects/correlations on iq gradually surfacing

“It is clear that intelligence is at least partly genetically determined. This was supported by the discovery in 2001 that the volume of the brain's grey matter, made up of "processor" cells, is heritable and correlates with certain elements of IQ (Nature Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1038/nn758). The amount of white matter, which provides the connections between these processors, has since been shown to be heritable too (Journal of Neuroscience, vol 26, p 10235).

“Now it seems that the quality of these connections, which is governed by the integrity of the protective myelin sheath that encases them, is also largely genetic, and correlates with IQ.”

related material
Intelligence: misuse and abuse of statistics

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potential breakthrough in search for universal ‘flu’ prevention claimed

“Scientists screened those antibodies and found 10 capable of stopping the bird flu. Next they tried the antibodies on the deadly 1918 strain. "Sure enough, it blocked that virus also," said Dr. Wayne A. Marasco of Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School, who directed the research team. "And at that point, we knew we had something special."

“Further analysis showed why: The antibodies targeted a specific spot on proteins that sit on the surface of the flu virus. Crucially, the antibodies landed at the same site on several flu strains.”

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the more cigarettes are investigated, the worse they seem to be

third hand smoking

“Research has documented the association between smoking in the home and persistently high levels of tobacco toxins well beyond the period of active smoking. These toxins take the form of particulate matter deposited in a layer onto every surface in loose household dust. These volatile toxic compounds off gas into the air over a period of days, weeks and months. Particulate matter from tobacco smoke includes 250 poisonous gases, chemicals and metals according to the National Toxicology Program. Among these are hydrogen cyanide (used in chemical weapons), carbon monoxide (found in car exhaust), butane (used in lighter fluid), ammonia (used in household cleaners), toluene (found in paint thinners), arsenic (used in pesticides), lead (formerly found in paint), chromium (used to make steel), cadmium (used to make batteries) and highly radioactive polonium-210.

“Dr. Winckoff stated: "Eleven of the compounds are classified as Group 1 carcinogens, the most dangerous. When you smoke--anyplace--toxic particulate matter from tobacco smoke gets into your hair and clothing. When you come into contact with your baby, even if you're not smoking at the time, the baby comes in contact with those toxins. And if you breastfeed, the toxins will transfer to your baby in your breast milk." He commented, however, that breastfeeding is still preferable.” [Quoted from naturalnews.com]

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second-hand cardiovascular risk

“Exposure to second-hand smoke at work, home or elsewhere results in a disproportionate rise in markers that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, University of Nottingham researchers have found.

“A new study published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, measured the level of cotinine in participants' blood, rather than relying on participants' self-reporting of exposure to second-hand smoke. Cotinine is the major metabolite of nicotine that indicates levels of nicotine intake. Since nicotine is highly specific for tobacco smoke, blood serum cotinine levels track exposure to tobacco smoke and its toxic components.”

“Dr Venn said: "The increased levels of fibrinogen and homocysteine seen in relation to second-hand smoke exposure were equivalent to about 30 per cent to 45 per cent of those seen for active smoking.” [Quoted from medicalnewstoday.com]

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claim of less polluting manufacturing of cement

Note, article lacks useful data on price.

Novacem's cement, based on magnesium silicates, not only requires much less heating, it also absorbs large amounts of CO2 as it hardens , making it carbon negative...”"

“Cement, a vast source of planet-warming carbon dioxide, could be transformed into a means of stripping the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere, thanks to an innovation from British engineers.

“The new environmentally friendly formulation means the cement industry could change from being a "significant emitter to a significant absorber of CO2," says Nikolaos Vlasopoulos, chief scientist at London-based Novacem, whose invention has garnered support and funding from industry and environmentalists.

“The new cement, which uses a different raw material, certainly has a vast potential market. Making the 2bn tonnes of cement used globally every year pumps out 5% of the world's CO2 emissions - more than the entire aviation industry. And the long-term trends are upwards: a recent report by the French bank Credit Agricole estimated that, by
2020, demand for cement will increase by 50% compared to today."

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About NovaCem Ltd
Founded in 2007, NovaCem is a spin-out company from Imperial College London, formed to commercialise the development of novel recyclable cementitious binders that can be used for the production of carbon negative construction products. The manufacture of Portland cement is a highly energy and carbon intensive process and is responsible for ~5% of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions. NovaCem has developed a novel cementitious binder system based on magnesium oxide and special mineral additives. Unlike Portland cement, this binder does not require high temperature processing, and it is manufactured by a chemical process that has minimal CO2 emissions. It hardens by absorbing atmospheric CO2 and therefore offers the unique potential to develop a range of 'carbon negative' construction products.

“The construction and operation of UK homes is responsible for more than 30% of all CO2 emissions in the UK. NovaCem’s novel cementitious binder can uniquely combine the sustainability of timber, the recyclability of metals, and the technical properties and high thermal mass of concrete, thus minimising CO2 emissions during building construction, operation and disposal.”

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